- I feel instinctively that the people expressing these opinions should be the very people that agree with me (sociologically, religiously, demographically, etc.), and I find myself mystified at why they do not. While I am used to being in the minority among strangers, it is unfamiliar territory among like-minded friends. (much more on this later...suffice it to say that my comments will likely include many references to the word hermeneutic, so stay tuned for some exciting intellectual pomposity).
- Because these people "should" agree with me, I feel not only pressured to articulate a reasoned defense about topics on which I am not an expert, but also that the "majority influence" of this environment intrinsically places the burden of proof upon me to reassert what is inevitably the "traditionalist" opinion.
- I think the majority do not always realize the pressure they are exerting, and likely don't intend to exert. Or maybe I exert all the pressure on myself, and it's my own damn fault. But it's hard to hear conclusions I consider misguided from the very people I lean on for support, and not feel the desire to step in and say something. This "us" vs. "them" mentality develops, and I feel like "we" are always on the defensive, and the only ones ever forced to retreat.
- There have been several times in the past where merely mentioning a position immediately gets me labeled a "chauvanistic judgmental bigot." These leaves me somewhat gunshy of even expressing an opinion.
This being said, I want to take a step back and reflect on how much we actually have in common. I'm not interested in provoking an argument, or even tendering a "debate. " I doubt you are either. I'm merely looking to join the dialog, and it is excellent to see so many intelligent people wrestling with such tough issues. I just wish I had a few more people "in my corner."
However, with a sense of compassion and fellowship, this kind of discourse can only build us all up. And, I hope it does exactly that. In fact, that's really all I want. So I intend to proceed with that mindset - that your opinions aren't meant to attack me, and that mine are likewise not meant to offend you. And I am really not a chauvanistic judgmental bigot...
So, if I seem harsh, or come across as abrasive (which is virtually guaranteed), just let me know. Chances are I'll ratchet down quickly, and usually I don't intend to come across like I do. Although, I wouldn't be me if I didn't send a few barbs now and then, and I expect nothing but the same from you. Grace & Peace...